Published on August 9th, 2013 | by Greg0
HexBright FLEX: A Programmable Flashlight?!
When you think of writing a program, or creating software to control an object, you probably think of something like a calculator or a computer or perhaps a tablet or smartphone. But what about the humble flashlight? If that sounds like overkill- and it might just be- then it’s a particularly geeky kind of overkill. Billed as the first “open source” LED light, this Arduino-compatible, super-bright rechargeable handheld lamp is perfect for anyone who appreciate makerspaces and ciruitry diagrams- because the schematics are available as well, and a community has grown to support the project.
The HexBright FLEX is more than just a basic light- it offers a high output 500 lumens mode that burns through the battery in an hour but will scare away shadows and compete with the sun. The aluminum body is interesting, a contoured shape that’s unique and quite grippable, and immediately sets this one apart from others. We actually had people asking us about a flashlight! As you might expect, it started as a Kickstarter project that earned almost ten times the goal!
The included lithium-ion battery can be replaced easily, and they included a wall charger as well as the ability to charge via USB. That same USB cable can also be used to upload special functions and programs. And don’t worry about battery life- at the lower power setting of 50 lumens, you’ll get 35 or more hours, and it’s still plenty bright for most uses. It’s well sealed against the elements, though isn’t technically waterproof (nor is it quite ‘tactical’, though it does feel incredibly capable). We confess that we didn’t play around with programming it too much, but did take a look at the documentation, the repository, and some of the examples. And while the idea of a programmable flashlight might seem a bit silly or unnecessary, it’s easy to appreciate the idea of having better control and understanding of the components in your electronics.
Available in five colors- red, blue, green, white, and black, the HexBright Flex is available now online for under $100.